Rulers of Rock: Did the U.K. or U.S. Do Classic Rock Better?


Autumn Mann

Two students listen to “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.

Rowan Harris, Staff Writer

It seems that what is now being referred to as “classic rock” has been played on radio stations every day for 50 years. Everybody and their father has heard of iconic bands such as Led Zeppelin and Metallica. Every time the radio gets switched on, any range of classic rock songs from “Paranoid” to “Paradise City” start blasting. 

One aspect of classic rock that continues to divide fans of any age, though, is the decades-old question: did the United Kingdom or the United States make better classic rock songs?

For the purpose of this article, “classic rock” includes any songs made by rock (or any related subgenre) bands from the years between 1960-2000. Sorry, but you’ll find no Arctic Monkeys or Greta van Fleet here. 

In many discussions regarding classic rock, the U.K. easily takes the cake. In the movie School of Rock, Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn explains rock and roll history to his class, listing off three iconic U.K. bands as examples (the bands including Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and The Rolling Stones).

Junior Brighton Buchanan agrees with Finn, stating, “The U.K. has superior artists throughout multiple genres, especially rock.” This opinion is held by many at St. Louis High School.

The U.K. might not always be on top, though. The U.S. has provided unforgettable artists such as Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac, and Talking Heads, to name a few.

“The U.S. is absolutely unbeatable,” said senior Alex Hardy. Hardy elaborated, saying, “You literally cannot replace U.S. artists. I mean, what about Van Halen? Or Metallica? They’re iconic!”

Even some staff members, such as Kevin Kuhn, history teacher, prefer the rock from the states. “I am the epitome of a proud American,” states Kuhn. “I love this country, and the artists it has produced.”

Either way, it’s easy to see that classic rock holds a well-deserved reputation. The genre will forever be one of the most impactful things to happen to music history, regardless of the country of origin for some bands.